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The Rainbow Singer

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Books; Reprint edition (September 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078688682X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786886821
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Wil Carson is a troubled young man. There is no doubt in The Rainbow Singer that the Troubles in Northern Ireland have turned a regular teenager into a very confused and angry person. What there is confusion about, however, is the target audience for this book.
Essentially told in the voice of a 14 year old, heavy metal loving child of the 80s, The Rainbow Singer is one man's reflection on what his life was like as a youth. From his present-day jail cell in Wisconsin, Wil Carson (our main character and narrator), tells the story of a one month long church-sponsored multi-faith trip from Ulster to America that he took part in when he was 14. Designed to bring Irish Catholic and Protestant youth together, the trip puts Wil in the strange and confusing world of Milwaukee.
The story relates the tension between Catholic and Protestant students, romantic awakening and a brush with homosexuality. In short, The Rainbow Singer is a coming of age memoir set against the backdrop of the Irish Troubles. Where it succeeds is in the quirky and sometimes funny perspective of a headbanging teen. But where The Rainbow Singer fails is, sadly, more noticable.
The book is a very fast read because the voice of Wil is somewhat unsophisticated. This is good in that it is true to his character, but it makes the book read like a YA novel. This, again, would be fine if the book was aimed at a youth audence, but the large amount of violence, swearing and sex in the novel prove taht it is definitely an adult book. The Rainbow Singer took about 1.5 hours to read and was not developed enough to be truly satisfying, nor is it light enough to be fun and airy.
All in all, The Rainbow Singer could have been an interesting look at a teenager's perspective on Catholic/Protestant tensions in Ulster, but ended up being toothless and bland.
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Format: Hardcover
Simon Kerr's debut novel, The Rainbow Singer, is at once both poignantly funny and tragic. Wil Carson, the book's engaging narrator, is a product of his violence-torn environment, a fourteen year-old boy on the verge of manhood in Ulster, Northern Ireland, hanging around with the UFF--Ulster Freedom Fighters--his gang of Protestant-born mates, terrorizing the "Taig" (Catholic) families in the local neighborhoods.
He's fascinated with American movies and heavy metal music and jumps at the unexpected chance to spend a month in the "relative peace of the unwild midwest USA." The catch - the scot-free vacation in the States is courtesy of Project Ulster, a joint effort between the local Protestant and Catholic churches to show a group of unimpressed teenagers (ten Protestants and ten Catholics) that there is a path other than the familiar one of violence, prejudice and hate.
From the very beginning of the trip Wil is persecuted mercilessly by two Catholic boys, Seamus and Peter. He makes a halfhearted effort to resist the fighting, antagonistic urges inside, instead throwing himself headlong into the awkward pursuit of Teresa, one of the Catholic girls.
A series of run-ins with the Catholic boys on Project outings makes the situation increasingly more volatile. But it's not until he's encouraged by his fifteen year-old American host and friend, Derry "the Hulk," that Wil begins to lose control and the "tit-for-tat" feuding spirals into an inevitable act of horrifying violence.
The very heart of terrorism is laid open by the unique, engaging voice of Wil Carson. Simon Kerr has brought to life an intense, sharp-witted boy you'll want to hate, but can't help but love. The Rainbow Singer is a graphic but necessary read.
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Format: Hardcover
...just because a narrator is 14-years-old, it does not automatically make it a young adult novel. Fiction can be written from any perspective, any age. Moreover, the narrator of the The Rainbow Singer is NOT 14-years-old. He is retelling the events that happened when he was 14 from his prison cell fifteen years later. And yes, that does make it a bit of page-turner because you want to know what he did to end up in prison during his trip to America.
This novel is so pertinent to the anniversary of September 11 - because it really explores what makes hatred, especially hatred that lasts for centuries. So while the target audience is not Young Adults, it certainly wouldn't hurt them to read the novel.
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By A Customer on July 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read The Rainbow Singer in one go. I found it funny and yet deadly serious at the same time. Heavy Metal fantasies and pop psychology, Loyalist terrorism and pop TV--a strange mixture, but it really works. I tried not to like Wil Carson the narrator, but he reminded me of Pat McCabe's Francie Brady, only more direct, and so I couldn't help it. If you like black humour, and Ireland, it doesn't come of age much better.
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By A Customer on July 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Wil Carson reviews and recasts his crimes in the light of his access to the penal system's undoubted richness in psychology and sociological apologia. Unfortunately his voice never rings true, either as a youngster or as an informed inmate, and the rest of the characters fare even less well. I also found myself distracted by the stylistic tricks employed to keep the story going.
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